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POPE says, in a note appended to this Epistle in 1735, that it was written in 1715, but not published till 1720, when it appeared with Tickell's edition of Addison's works. The latter of these statements is inaccurate : the former is probably untrue. Tickell's edition did not appear till 1721. The Dialogue on Medals had been left in his hands to be prepared for publication, and in the biographical notice prefixed to the works, there is not the slightest hint that Addison had ever intended to produce it separately. Even, however, if he had thought of publishing it in 1715, it is in the highest degree improbable that Pope would have addressed a complimentary poem to Addison at the very time when, according to his own account, he wrote and sent to his rival the satire on his character. Besides, had the verses been in existence in 1717, the mere fact that Addison had not published his Dialogue would scarcely have prevented an author of Pope's vanity from printing his Epistle in the volume of his poems published in that year. The question would seem to be practically decided by Gilliver's edition of the Dunciad, in which is published the following notice : “A list of all our Author's genuine works." “ The Works, &c., 1717. This edition contains whatever is his, except the following, which have been written since that time; Inscription to Dr. Parnell's Poems, and Verses on Mr. Addison's Treatise on Medals, first printed after his death in Mr. Tickell's edition of his works, epitaphs, &c."
The note appended by Pope to the Epistle in 1735 is, we can hardly doubt, part of the scheme which he concocted to clear himself from the charge of having written the character of Addison after the latter was dead. In 1721 the literary world was, of course, busy with the praises of the great essayist, and Pope falling in with the general sentiment, took advantage of the appearance of Tickell’s work to come forward with a poetical panegyric. Afterwards, when the injurious report about his character of Addison had been widely circulated, and he himself was engaged in a harassing war with the Dunces, he perceived that an effect might be produced by ante-dating the composition of the Epistle, so as to give an appearance of
magnanimity to the part which he described himself as having acted in the quarrel. The verses on Craggs were a difficulty, for, though they had appeared in the Epistle in 1721, they could not possibly have been written in 1715, at which date young Craggs occupied no position which would have entitled him to the name of "statesman.” Pope, however, ingeniously surmounted this obstacle by pretending that the last ten verses were of later composition, and were added to the original draft of the Epistle, as a compliment to a statesman recently dead.
OCCASIONED BY HIS DIALOGUES ON MEDALS.1
See the wild waste of all devouring years !
| This was originally written in Diocletian, says : “Nell'edificatione the year 1715, when Mr. Addison delle quali, Dioclesiano tenne moltiintended to publish his book of anni 140 mila Christiani a edificarle." Medals ; it was some time before he -WARBURTON. was Secretary of State ; but not pub- 4 The woods were unpeopled to lished till Mr. Tickell's edition of provide beasts for the Roman spechis works ; at which time the verses tacles By draining "a distant on Mr. Craggs which conclude the country of her floods,' he must mean poem were added, viz. in 1720.- the water brought from a distance to POPE. See Introductory Remarks.
flood the Colosseum for the purpose ? St. Jerome says, “ Roma quon- of mimic naval combats. dam orbis caput, postea populi 5 Ver. 5-10 were not included in Romani sepulchrum."-WARTON. the copy printed in Tickell's edition
3 Palladio, speaking of the Baths of of Addison's works.
Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
Ambition sighed : she found it vain to trust
The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
1 “Judæa capta,” on a reverse of Arbuthnot, for the whole race of Vespasian.—WARD (Globe Edition). virtuosi. Their somewhat illiberal
? i.e., the triumphal Arch, which sentiments are gently corrected in was generally an enormous mass of the person of Cynthio in Addison's building.– WARBURTON.
Dialogue on Medals. Microscopic glasses invented by
• i.e., This a collector of silver ; Philosophers to discover the beauties
that of brass coins.- WARBURTON. in the minuter works of Nature, ridiculously applied by antiquaries to 5 “Behold then, my child, but detect the cheats of counterfeit first behold the shield! Behold this medals.— WARBURTON.
rust-or rather let me call it this Warburton seems to have shared precious erugo-behold this beautiful the dislike of Pope, Swift, and varnish of time—this venerable ver
To gain Pescennius one employs his schemes ;
Theirs is the vanity, the learning thine :'
Oh when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
dure of so many ages."-Memoirs of of Curio, see note to Moral Essay iv. Martinus Scriblerus, ch. iii.
ver. 8. Compare Dunciad iv. 362 :
4 “Mr. Addison did not go any Now see an Attys, now a Cecrops clear.
depth in the study of medals : all the
knowledge he had of that kind, I ? The story is told of Cornelius
believe, he had from me ; and I did Scriblerus's shield in the Memoirs
not give him above twenty lessons on of Martinus Scriblerus, ch. iii. “The
that subject.” – Signor Ficoroni, truth was the maid (extremely con
quoted by Spence. cerned for the reputation of her own
Compare Epistle to Jervas, ver. 20. cleanliness, and her young master's “I think there is a great affinity honour) had scoured it as clean as
between coins and poetry, and that her own andirons." Vadius was Dr.
your medallist and critic are much Woodward.
nearer related than the world geneLord of an Otho, if I vouch it true, rally imagines. A reverse often clears
Blest in one Niger till he knows of two. up the passage of an old poet, as -Dunciad, iv. 369.
the poet often serves to unriddle That is, a Pescennius Niger, as in a reverse.” – Addison on Medals, ver. 39 above. For another mention Dialogue I.